ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPTS
The accounting system in any given country is one of the key elements of the economic system. It is determined to a significant extent by the level and direction of the economic system’s development.
The most important theoretical concept of the Anglo-American accounting may be summed up as follows: the subject of accounting is the calculation of the financial results of an economic entity’s business activity.
Accounting is used to describe the transactions entered into by all kinds of organisations.
Accounting can be divided into three phases: capture, processing and communication of financial information.
The first phase, the process of capturing financial information and recording it, is called book-keeping. Accounting, in the true sense of the word, extends far beyond the actual making of records. It includes their analysis and interpretation, it shows the relationship between the financial results and events which have created them.
Accounting can show the managers or owners of a business whether or not the business is operating at profit, whether or not the business will be able to meet its commitments as they fall due.
Accounting is based on the accounting equation, which states that a firm’s assets must equal its liabilities plus its owners’ equity.
Assets and liabilities, profits or losses are listed in financial statements. The two main types of financial statements are the balance sheet and the income statement (profit and loss account).
The balance sheet lists a firm’s assets, liabilities and owner’s equity at a point of time.
Changes in the balance sheet are made according to the principle of double-entry bookkeeping. This principle made its appearance in the 13th century in Northern Italy. It was improved and disseminated at the end of the 14th century by the work of Luca Pacioli, a monk and a university teacher. This principle states that each transaction must be recorded on the balance sheet as two separate entries so that the accounting equation will hold at all times, the total of each side will always equal one another, and that this will always be true no matter how many transaction are entered into.
Balance sheets are drawn up periodically: monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, annually.
There is an account for every asset, every liability and capital. Accounts can be prepared either on a cash or accrual basis. Each account should be shown on a separate page.
The double entry system divides each page into two halves. The left-hand side is called the debit side, while the right-hand side is called the credit side.
The balance sheet shows a lot of useful financial information, but it does not show everything. A firm’s sales, costs, and profits for a given period are shown in an income statement.